Effective Dual Diagnosis Treatment Programme
Many of us who end up struggling due to alcohol or drug addiction problems will also have other issues that need to be dealt with. This can include conditions such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, or personality disorders. It could be that it was these mental health issues that made substance abuse such an attractive option in the first place, or we may have developed these symptoms as a result of our addiction.
If you are dealing with an addiction problem alongside something like depression it is referred to as a ‘dual diagnosis’ or ‘co-occurring disorder’. Over the last couple of decades, there have been significant advances in dual diagnosis treatment, and this means there are some good options for those of us in need of this type of help. Here at Twin Rivers Rehab in South Africa, we have extensive experience with dealing with the common combination of addiction and mental health disorders.
Should I Deal With My Addiction Problems First?
If you feel your main problem is the addiction, it may seem logical that you would sort out this first before concentrating on any other issues. In the past, there were many recovery experts who would have advocated this way of doing things – it made sense. We now know that this approach often doesn’t work. The danger is that a problem like anxiety or depression will prevent you from getting much out of addiction program if it is ignored.
If you have been self-medicating a mental health problem with alcohol or drugs, you may feel incredibly vulnerable when this coping mechanism is removed unless there is something effective to replace it with. Substance abuse is a terrible way of dealing with an issue like depression, but for you it may feel better than nothing. If you stop drinking or using drugs, and you are left dealing with uncontrolled symptoms of depression or anxiety, you are likely to quickly lose your motivation for recovery and give up – who could blame you?
The advantage of a dual diagnosis program is that all of your pressing problems are dealt with at the same time. This means your addiction won’t prevent you from getting your mental health symptoms under control, and your mental health symptoms won’t prevent you from recovering from addiction.
How to Choose an Effective Dual Diagnosis Rehab
Probably the most important thing when choosing a dual diagnosis treatment center is making sure that the facility has experience dealing with your particular issues. For example, if you have been diagnosed with a borderline personality, you will want to make sure that the rehab facility has had success with clients facing the same challenge. If you don’t feel the rehab understands your particular dual diagnosis, you would be best advised to go somewhere else for help.
The team here at Twin Rivers in South Africa has extensive experience with dealing with all types of dual diagnosis supported by a psychologist, addiction counsellors, a doctor and an on-site nurse. Please contact us now so we can offer some guidance on the next best step for you or your loved one to take.
David is the Clinical and Development Director of Twin Rivers Rehab in South Africa and a UK Accredited Addictions Therapist with the Federation of Drug and Alcohol Professionals UK. Articles/Blogs are written with the assistance of researchers and other specialists in the field of addiction and the recovery process